First Hot Stove Item on The Menu is Chili

Chili Davis

With the cold temperatures upon us this week, the Red Sox fired up the Hot Stove with chili as the main course. Chili Davis, Oakland’s hitting coach the last three seasons, has been hired to the same position by the Boston Red Sox.

Former Red Sox players Bill Mueller and Rich Gedman had also been rumored to be in the running, but the 56 year old Davis, whose career spanned most of the 80’s and 90’s, and who retired with a .274 lifetime average, ended up getting the nod.

Davis is no stranger to the Boston organization; in 2011 he served as the hitting coach for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Although that squad had the third most runs scored in the league, they were second to last in hits and average.

In Oakland, with Davis instructing the hitters, the A’s finished third in the AL in runs scored with 729 after having led the majors for most of the 2014 season prior to slumping in August and September.

Davis replaces Greg Colbrunn, who resigned at the end of the season. Colbrunn had just completed his second season as the Sox hitting instructor, but was dealing with serious health issues after suffering a brain hemorrhage in June.

One of Davis’ priorities will be to see the Red Sox increase their team batting average from the lowly .244 this past season to the lofty .272 number they averaged from 2011-13.

Search For New Red Sox Hitting Coach

Dave Magadan

Dave Magadan

Former Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn stepped down as hitting coach for health reasons after the 2014 season leaving the Red Sox with a void. The hitting coach candidates for the Red Sox are plentiful with the names including Dave Magadan, Rich Gedman, Bill Mueller, Chili Davis, Paul Sorrento, Tim Hyers. All come with former major league playing experience and either major or minor league coaching experience.

The search should begin with Dave Magadan, but he is technically under contract to the Texas Rangers for the 2015 season. He could come available when Texas hires a new manager. The new manager may want to bring in their own staff and start fresh with a new voice. Magadan is no stranger having served as the hitting coach for the Red Sox before starting in 2006 and was on the 2007 World Series team. Under his guidance in 2006, the team’s batting average increased from .269-.279, slugging percentage went up from 435-444, on base percentage went up .351-.362 and the team led A.L. in walks with 689. During the 2007 World Series, the team batting .333. In 2008 Boston was among league leaders in all batting categories such as having a .280 batting average, 845 runs, 353 doubles, 807 RBI, 2,503 total bases, and was 3rd with a .447 slugging percentage.

Rich Gedman is an intriguing and popular name having been the catcher from 1980-1990 with the Red Sox. The Worcester native played under the intense hitting coach Walter Hriniak where he made a big improvement of year two in the majors. Hriniak of course was instrumental later in his career in helping Frank Thomas in Chicago put up hall of fame numbers. Gedman was a two time all star in 1985 and 1986 and hit for the cycle in a game against Toronto in 1985. He has been the AA Portand hitting coach for the past four seasons. Portland had a .268 batting average this year and averaged 4.6 runs. He also has coached prospects such as Mookie Betts, Sean Coyle, Blake Swihart and other top prospects.

Bill Mueller is another familiar name to Red Sox nation having played third base on the 2004 World Series team. He was the 2003 batting champion with a .326 average having batted eighth most of the year. He was also a silver slugger award winner that year for third basemen. He recently was with the Chicago Cubs and is available after leaving the team.

Chili Davis is a former all star in the major leagues and serves as the Oakland A’s hitting coach. Oakland may consider a move for him to bench coach to try to entice him to stay. Davis also was a former hitting coach for Pawtucket AAA in 2011. Paul Sorrento, minor league hitting coordinator for the Los Angeles Angels, is a Sommerville native and shares a Cleveland Indian playing career in common with manager John Farrell. Tim Hyers is also a candidate who was the Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator and filled in at the big league level with Greg Colbrunn was out of action for health reasons.